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Basi-Virk trial delays continue

VANCOUVER - Whatever business advice B.C. Rail paid B.C. Liberal insider Patrick Kinsella $297,000 for has produced another 66 documents that the defence in the Basi-Virk trial wants access to.

And once again the developments in B.C. Supreme Court have resulted in yet another supreme delay in the proceedings.

With 10 lawyers in attendance, Justice Elizabeth Bennett heard extended arguments yesterday from the defence, Kinsella's legal counsel and BC Rail's attorney

It all amounted to postponing resolution of the defence request for Kinsella's contracts, reports, payments and other documents for his work with B.C. Rail.

The pre-trial hearing of David Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi - the three former BC Liberal government aides facing corruption charges regarding the $1 billion privatization of B.C. Rail - was told that because there are more documents related to Kinsella's work it would be premature to hear arguments from his lawyer James Sullivan on why some of them should not be released to the defence.

But Kevin McCullough, representing Virk, argued that if B.C. Rail agrees to providing the documents in their possession, Sullivan has no avenue to block it.

"If the Corporation [B.C. Rail] doesn't object to releasing the 66 documents, that's it - we get them," he told Bennett.

And McCullough questioned whether Sullivan can even make arguments about the B.C. Rail-held files.

"Does Mr. Sullivan have any sort of standing regarding B.C. Rail documents subsequent to their decision [on releasing them]? he asked.

Mike Bolton, representing David Basi, said "there is some merit in postponing our friend's response," referring to Sullivan.

Sullivan took the same view.

"I agree with Mr. Bolton - it is premature to make submissions in what is effectively the midst of document production. At some point we'll have to reschedule this hearing," he said.

And rescheduled it was, until July 23, with additional dates of August 18-20 also set aside for the Kinsella matter. The defence is also seeking Kinsella and his companies' own records in addition to B.C. Rail documents.

That delay led a frustrated New Democratic Party MLA Leonard Krog, in court for the hearing, to say in an interview that: "This is the trial that never ends."

The pre-trial hearing continues today with lawyer Ed Montague, representing 17 B.C. Liberal MLAs - including Premier Gordon Campbell - responding to a defence request for their emails related to the B.C. Rail sale.

Bill Tieleman is a regular Tyee contributor who writes a column on B.C. politics every Tuesday in Vancouver 24 hours. E-mail him at weststar@telus.net or visit his blog at http://billtieleman.blogspot.com.

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